At the end of Justice League #42, Batman sat down on the Mobius Chair and became a New God. Which is where catch up with him in #43.

As a New God on his big floaty throne, Batman now has access to all the knowledge of the multiverse — and he's reveling in it. There's literally nothing he doesn't know. Well, except for one thing, which just happens to be the one thing he and the League need to know most. But, y'know... technicality.

Geoff Johns is a smart writer who has a brain overflowing with big, cool ideas. So he's very aware of the stipulation that comes with a drastic change in status quo like Batman becoming a god: the reader instantly knows it's temporary. It's the same as what's happening in the pages of the various Superman titles with the "Truth" storyline, or what's happening in Batman comics with Jim Gordon wearing the cowl. Things will revert to normal, eventually.

With few exceptions, "lasting change" in comics is a joke, because nothing's sacred and anything can be altered with an easy plot twist. So why do it, you ask, if you're just going to undo it a few issues later? To see how your characters react. To put them in this new situation and let them live in it, breathe in it, walk and talk and fight and love and sacrifice in it. To wring some good drama out of it.

Therein lies the problem with this "Batman-as-a-god" scenario. There doesn't seem to be any payoff for it. Granted, there's more story related to this in future issues. But there's nothing in issue #43 to indicate that Johns has any interest in truly exploring the human, psychological drama involved in Batman becoming a god. Bruce has a god complex as it is, so just imagine the dramatic potential in this. It's an idea worthy of its own story arc, separate from "The Darkseid War."

Instead, it's just the latest "wow" idea to escape from Johns' mind, and he has a nagging tendency to pile more and more of these wild ideas atop one another, never letting any of them breathe. At least in the Superman and Batman comics, we get to see how the current changes have genuine, organic effects on every part of these heroes' lives, and the lives of those around them.

It doesn't help that not much actually happens in Justice League #43. It's a talky installment, an info-dump. There's nothing wrong with a good info-dump; sometimes they're necessary. But when Bat-god and Mister Miracle bring their revelations to the heroes in Justice League #43, it's stuff we readers already know about. Yawn.

The issue's one saving grace is the buddy-cop story happening on the surface of Apokolips with Superman and Lex Luthor. Their dire circumstances prompt them to display their mutual loathing without holding back, generating a few moments of real, emotional interaction — and some pretty decent action, too.

Artist Jason Fabok does the best he can with the material, elevating it far above what was in the script. His composition is especially strong, with lots of tilted perspectives that look up from a ground-level view. It's a nifty approach that gives the story a powerful, majestic feel. Brad Anderson's colors are bright with vivid hues that leap off the page — a perfect example of what fans sometimes wish Zack Snyder would use in his movies instead of his dark, muted tones.

It's a great issue to look at, but there's precious little meat on these lovely bones.

Story:

★★☆☆☆

Art:

★★★★★

Overall:

★★★☆☆

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